• Staci Greka

Perfect pairings: Keep the right wine in mind when ordering takeout

Whether it's pizza or steamed snow crab, there's a local wine to suit every meal

What do you want for dinner tonight?

The food and wine options are endless in our region. And pairing them has never been easier, especially if you keep these basic principles in mind when bringing your favourite wines and foods together.

An important thing to consider is flavour intensity. This refers to neither the food nor the wine overpowering one another, but rather complementing. A beautiful example of this is the California Fusion pizza from Capri Pizza in Kingsville. It’s a mouthwatering combination of mozzarella, red onions, roasted red peppers, broccoli, feta, and barbecued chicken. The perfect pairing is the Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé from North 42. This wine is full of light red fruits but has enough pizzazz going on in the glass to keep up with the many different toppings on the pizza.

Salt and acid in food are additional aspects to consider. The salt can soften certain bitter elements in wine. And the acid in food can increase the fruitiness, body, and sweetness in the wine. The Portuguese Club in Harrow makes a traditional sandwich called a bifana. This is thinly sliced savoury pork cutlets which are simmered in white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, paprika, and lemon juice. The meat is served on a soft bun with mustard and piri-piri sauce, which has a bit of heat. The Cabernet Franc from Muscedere Vineyards is a great pairing since the salt from the bifana amplifies the fruit characteristics of the Cabernet Franc.

Acid and fat and how they work together is a beautiful thing. Let us consider the deep-fried pickle with chipotle sauce from The Beerded Dog in Harrow. Imagine biting into the crisp and slightly greasy pickle and washing it down with a cold glass of Talon White (a blend of Riesling, Gewurtzraminer and Vidal) from Coopers Hawk Vineyards. This pairing works because the acid from the wine cuts through the deep-fried exterior of the pickle. The complexity of the wine works with the varied flavours in this delicious appetizer. There is a tinge of sweetness in the wine which also helps to cool the heat down from the chipotle dipping sauce. This is because heat and sweet work well together, and as mentioned it supports matching flavour intensity as well.

The concept of matching actual flavours is another thing to consider when deciding what to drink with dinner. Joey’s Seafood in Leamington serves simply steamed snow crab and shrimp with melted butter. A gorgeous wine to crack open is the Trial Solution Chardonnay from Dancing Swallows Vineyard. This is an unfiltered barrel aged wine which gives it a silky feeling in the mouth. The wine is fruity, fresh, and buttery, which comes from the use of oak. This wine is just the right partner with the melted butter and delicate seafood.

An interesting “rule” that I always enjoy breaking is white with fish and red with meat. Elite Restaurant in Kingsville has a mouthwatering yellowfin tuna dish which is marinated in lemon and sea salt. The “meatiness” of the fish pairs perfectly with the Pinot Noir from Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. The wine is fresh, light bodied, with a nice acidity that mirrors the acid in the marinade. It is full of red fruit notes and some savoury spice notes that support the fish dish.

Whatever you decide to order in for dinner, you can never go wrong when you pair Essex County wines with local foods. Bon Appetit!

Staci Greka is a certified specialist of wine (CSW) and a sales representative at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

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